During our stay in Santo Domingo we chose the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel as our home-away-from-home for two primary reasons. First: it’s located on the Malecon, which meant being close to the ocean and a reasonable distance from most of the sights in the city. Second: my grandmother has a timeshare with Marriott so we could use her points here.
The Pros: The ocean is right across the street, and 100% beautiful. The hotel is modern, updated, and fairly well maintained. If you’re into gambling (I’m not), the Renaissance Jaragua hosts the largest casino in the Caribbean. There’s also an upscale nightclub, access to a nice health club, a pool, tennis courts, and a good, decently priced breakfast buffet.
The Cons: The ocean is close, yes, but the hotel is situated so that you will find the best views in the hallway, not your room. Plus there is no beach, though that’s probably not why you’re visiting Santo Domingo in the first place. The service was meh, and although the facilities are nice, there’s not a lot of character here – walking around the lobby you would never know you were in a vibrant Caribbean country. The hotel is technically fairly centrally located, but you’ll still have to take a car to most of the major attractions.
Overall: I would stay here again… if I was using my grandma’s Marriott points. Any option is a good one when you’re not paying! But really, for a comparable price you can stay someplace else in the city with much more character and a better location. You might try Hostal Nicolas de Ovando in the Zona Colonial and let me know how it is. We had brunch there on our first day in the city and found it elegant, charming, and chuck full of character.